The Sermon as Public Discourse

Patrick D. Gaffney

in The Prophet's Pulpit

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 1994 | ISBN: 9780520084711
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520914582 | DOI:
The Sermon as Public Discourse

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The era following World War I was characterized throughout the Middle East by a growing anti-colonial sentiment. The attempt to fuse the primordial ties represented by Islam with the loyalties characteristic of a modern political community has been variously described. This chapter provides an ethnographic investigation of preachers and sermons in a provincial capital. It becomes evident that an official strategy of appropriating traditional religious symbols in the course of what amounts to a power struggle between different social groups and rival interests can very quickly blur any boundaries that might normally obtain between zeal for piety's sake and straightforward political activism. The preacher has emerged in very recent times in Egypt as a pivotal figure in the redefining of symbols imparting the religious legitimation and moral affirmation of new social, political, and economic options.

Keywords: Middle East; Islam; traditional religious symbols; political activism; zeal; preacher; Egypt

Chapter.  5017 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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